Audiences watching the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022 run the risk of contracting Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also known as camel flu. A report by the WHO claims that the crowd of 1.2 million people at FIFA may be a factor in the virus's spread.
Scientists have identified the camel flu as an infection risk during the four-week-long sporting event in a study that was published in the journal "New Microbes and New Infections." Let's learn more about this deadly virus, including its cause, symptoms, diagnosis, and prevention.
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What is Camel Flu?
The majority of Camel Flu cases have happened in the Arabian Peninsula, according to Egyptian doctor Ali Mohamed Zaki, who discovered the first case in June 2012 at the Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. As of January 2021, there had been over 2,500 cases reported, including 45 cases in 2020. The disease claimed the lives of about 35% of those who were diagnosed with it.
The virus has been referred to as the SARS-like virus from Saudi Arabia because early reports compared it to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). And taking note of, the following are the most typical signs of disease:
- Shortness of Breath
- Gastrointestinal uneasiness with diarrhea
- Vomiting and Indigestion
- Abdominal Pain
However, MERS or camel flu can also be asymptomatic multiple times.
The MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which differs from the SARS coronavirus and the common cold coronavirus by having single-stranded RNA, is the cause of Middle East respiratory syndrome. Its genomes are divided phylogenetically into Clades A and B. Early MERS cases (EMC/2012 and Jordan-N3/2012) belonged to Clade A clusters, whereas new cases are generally genetically distinct (Clade B). Both LLC-MK2 cells and Vero cells support rapid virus growth.
A confirmed case is determined in a person with a positive lab test by "molecular diagnostics including either a positive PCR on at least two specific genomic targets or a single positive target with sequencing on a second," as stated by the World Health Organization.
The other two ways to diagnose Camel Flu infection in a person are:
Bilateral patchy infiltrates that are consistent with viral pneumonitis and acute respiratory distress syndrome is frequently seen on chest X-rays (ARDS). Lower lobes are frequently more active. Interstitial infiltrates are visible on CT scans.
Low white blood cell counts, particularly low lymphocyte counts, have been associated with MERS cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises collecting samples for PCR testing from the lower respiratory tract since these have the highest viral loads: bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), sputum sample, or tracheal aspirate. Additionally, studies using nasopharyngeal swabs to sample the upper respiratory system have been conducted.
The WHO currently advises that all people coming into contact with MERS suspects should take the following preventative measures, even though the mechanism of MERS-spread CoV's is not yet understood. These include:
- Put on a face mask.
- Wear a pair of glasses (i.e. goggles or a face shield)
- Put on gloves and a clean, non-sterile long-sleeved gown.
- Practice good hand hygiene before and after coming into contact with someone and their environment, as well as right away after taking off any personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Wear a particulate respirator, and before donning a disposable one, make sure the seal is intact.
- For some procedures with anticipated high fluid volumes that could seep through the gown, wear an impermeable apron.
- Perform procedures in a room with enough ventilation.
- Keep the number of people in the room to a bare minimum that is necessary for the person's care and support.
There isn't a specific vaccine or treatment for the illness as of 2022, but several are being developed. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises people who interact with camels to wash their hands afterward and refrain from touching sick ones. They also advocate for properly cooking foods made from camels. It is possible to use treatments to alleviate symptoms and support healthy body function.